Fearless Nadia (paperback)
by: Dorothee Wenner
Publisher:Penguin Books India
List Price: Rs. 295.00
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The definitive biography of one of Indian cinema’s most unusual iconic figures
In 1935, a young blonde girl made her first appearance on the Indian screen. Riding like the devil, swinging on chandeliers, sporting a mask and tight-fitting shorts and brandishing a whip, she drove audiences into raptures. The film was Hunterwali, the girl ‘Fearless’ Nadia. For more than a decade after that she remained one of the top Indian film stars as she wielded revolvers, ran along the roofs of rushing trains, beat up men and played with lions.
The Fearless Nadia films, a shimmering mixture of action, eroticism and progressive ideas, were unlike anything Indian audiences had seen so far. Coming at a time when India was struggling for independence, these films also carried subtle nationalist propaganda as Fearless Nadia, the daughter of a British soldier, became the cult cinematic symbol of the Indian freedom struggle.
How did a blonde with European features become a celebrated stunt queen in popular Indian cinema? How could an Indian actress of the 1930s become a rage with feminists in the West at the turn of the millennium?
Dorothee Wenner’s absorbing biography traces the Nadia story from her birth in Australia, her stint as a shop assistant, a secretary, a chorus girl and a variety performer in a circus to her unprecedented stardom and its aftermath. In the process, she also vividly brings to life a fascinating era of Indian cinema in which passionate film-makers overcame tremendous financial, technical and logistical odds to create celluloid magic.